Why Is The 2012 Dodge Ram Key Fob Not Working? Cause and Fix

Dodge Ram has employed keyless ignition for its car models for decades, and the 2012 generation is no exception.

However, complaints about the 2012 Dodge Ram key fob not working can still be found on many automobile forums, with beginner drivers struggling to locate the source of the problem.

The good news is that fixing this common issue requires little expertise or technical knowledge. Keep scrolling for details.

Why Is The 2012 Dodge Ram Key Fob Not Working? Common Reasons

2012 dodge ram key fob not working

The key fob refusing to work might indicate trouble with the fob/car batteries, built-up dirt/moisture, physical cracks, car locks, TIPM/RKE malfunctions, radio interference, or blown fuses.

Sometimes, the fobs also need reprogramming after their batteries are replaced.

Dead or Discharged Fob Batteries

Observe how the key fob works; do some features still function while others do not? If yes, the batteries might be up for replacement.

Fortunately, changing fob batteries is not difficult; it only requires screwdrivers, the right battery type, and some skill flexibility.

If unsure, leave the job to someone more experienced or check Dodge Ram manuals for detailed instructions.

Discharged Car Batteries

Once confirming the fob batteries work fine, check the car’s battery itself; no key fobs can deliver proper commands if the vehicle does not have enough electrical charge! 

Use a multimeter to test the charges; fully-charged Dodge Ram batteries must have at least 12.6 V (with the engine turned off) or somewhere between 13 and 14.7 V (with the engine running).

The Fob Needs Reprogramming or Resetting

Sometimes, the fobs require immediate reprogramming or resetting after changing batteries. But no worries; that is more than an easy feat for Dodge Ram cases.

The steps to reprogram Dodge Ram’s rectangular fobs are as follows:

  • Bring the fob inside your car; close all doors. Then push your start button to “Run” mode without engaging the brakes.
  • Wait until the chimes stop, then press the “Unlock” control for about 10 seconds. Release “Unlock,” then press/release “Panic.”
  • Press the reprogramming button, then turn off the ignition.
  • Exit your car, close its doors, then test the fob.

A few 2012 Ram models also offer the FOBIK fob. In that case, you should prepare one functioning FOBIK (usually the original spare) and a second FOBIK that needs programming.

Follow these steps to guarantee success:

  • Bring both fobs inside the car. Close all doors, then put the functioning FOBIK into the WIN (Wireless Ignition Nodes). Switch the keys to “ON,” but do not start your engine yet.
  • Press the “Unlock” control for about 10 seconds, then press/release “Panic.”
  • Press the programming buttons on the broken FOBIK. Turn off your ignition, and exit the car to test how the fob works now.

Still fail? Then consult the manual or drop by a dealer for further car servicing.

Moisture and Dirt

Another culprit of the 2012 and 2013 Dodge Ram key fob not working is the accumulated moisture and dirt that pools inside the key fob.

Worse, severe moisture or dripping water might completely destroy the fob’s internal system, causing erratic stutters!

The best bet is to disassemble the fob and clean moisture and dirt with a specialized electronic cleaning kit.

Unless the damage has gone in too deep, this method works most of the time.

Physical Cracks

One cannot expect the fob to operate within expectations forever; like any car compartment, heavy abuse and regular use also take a toll on its system.

Frequent button presses aside, they also have to go through tear and wear when dropped to the floor or squeezed into your bags and pockets.

Pull the fob apart gently, then inspect possible physical damage in critical places inside the structure. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Are there cracks on the buttons?
  • Do the contact points become dislodged?
  • Have the rubber buttons worn down? 
  • Are the battery terminals disconnected? 

Use adhesives on plastics, premium seals on metals, and basing flexing/cleaning tips for rubber parts.

These simple DIY tips usually fix the issue of Ram 1500 key fob not working, except for the following components that are difficult to repair (sometimes not even repairable at all):

  • Active RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) transmitters: transmitting the fob commands to the receivers to draw battery power
  • Passive RFID chips: enabling the car to recognize your fob for engine start or ignition

Long story short: if physical damage comes from these critical RFID components, it would be better to buy an entirely new fob.

Broken Car Locks

When the fob fails to lock/unlock the car, it is possible that the door locks are broken, not the fob itself.

To confirm your suspicion of whether the car locks or Dodge Ram key fob not working, try this quick test: 

  • Do the door locks still move but fail to disengage or engage completely? If the answer is Yes (even when they only move a little), then your fob has no technical problems.
  • Can the fob still unlock some doors (but not every door?) Then the fob is still working, while a few door locks need to be inspected.
  • Do the indicator or turning lights blink in accurate response patterns to your unlocking/locking command? “Yes” means the door locks need fixing; “No” indicates the fob has to be reset.

Problems With The Car TIPM

Each Dodge Ram model has a fuse box named the TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Modules), serving as the gatekeeper between your keyless entry module and the fob.

Problems with the TIPM signals at least one of the following scenarios:

  • The TIPM box is partially corroded or dirty
  • A relay or fuse might have been busted
  • The TIPM box is shorted

Average drivers can remove burnt replays, switch disrupted wires to new ones, or clean the box without help.

Still, turning to professional assistance is the wisest move if you want to err on the safe side.

Problems With The Car RKE

Like any system design involving remote control, the remote system for Dodge Ram cars needs two major components: the command transmitter (your fob) and the receiver (the RKE modules inside your vehicle).

RKE modules take charge of every command the fob sends from afar; even if the fob is still working, its commands will not go through if your RKE breaks down during the transmission.

Unlike TIPM, a few owners might not have enough confidence or technical skill to replace, diagnose, or fix the RKE by themselves.

This time, I strongly suggest going to automobile service centers or dealers to tackle Dodge Ram 1500 key fob not working.

Radio Interference

Smart key systems use short-range, low-power signals and hence, get easily disrupted by stronger radio sources, such as:

  • Your cellphone in the consoles
  • The phone or car’s Wifi hotspot
  • Wifi routers from nearby buildings
  • Cell phone towers
  • Home alarm system
  • 2-way radios
  • Airports
  • Radio stations
  • Military bases

Turn off the Wifi hotspot and put the phone in your backseat. Once done, try starting the car again by pushing your fob against Dodge Ram’s start button.

Contact mechanics when the Ram key fob not working is still unsolved.

Fuse Problems

Any electrically-power system would incorporate fuses in its smart key circuits – and the Dodge Ram’s keyless ignition system is no exception.

Contact issues with the circuits (ex: shortening, overload, etc.) will blow out the fuse – or, in short, the fuse has to “sacrifice” its life to sidestep serious system damage.

Troubleshoot the blown fuses using the following steps:

  • Find the fuse box (you can check the manual to confirm its location), then locate the start button/smart key fuses and their proper ratings
  • Shut off the car, then remove the fuses in the box using plastic tweezers. Check each fuse to confirm if its inside is broken and whether the rating matches the manual’s recommendations.
  • Replace the fuses with new ones of accurate ratings (never resort to fuses with lower or higher rates). Close the box and start your car again to see whether your fob finally operates.

What About 2012 Ram Key Fob Not Working After Battery Changes and Part Fixes?

dodge key fob not working

Is your Dodge Ram key fob not working after battery change? Pull the fob off again to check whether the battery terminals are broken or its button comes loose.

If nothing wrong happened with those parts, try reprogramming the fob again based on my instructions above, and do not forget to double-check that the door has proper latches and locks.

You can also apply similar troubleshooting methods to other brands’ key fobs, such as the Subaru key fob.

Is the Dodge key fob not working still after all these key fob tricks? Then again, professional support from mechanics and experts will be the best solution for you.

How Much Does Dodge Charge for A Replacement Key Fob? 

Expect to spend between $50 to $90 for a Dodge Ram replacement fob. Of course, the exact number depends on several factors, such as:

  • Your purchase place. Each dealer and retailer has different pricing policies, and the average living rate of the particular state/region also affects the total charge.

To avoid overspending, you should contact the service department beforehand and confirm the costs.

  • Extra features. A few more add-ons could be installed on the fob to streamline your ignition and car control; of course, you should prepare to pay extra bucks for them.

For instance, if your Dodge Ram has aftermarket control mirrors, you may consider customizing the fob to control them with only one click.

Are Dodge Ram Key Fobs Interchangeable?

No. Using your Dodge Ram fob to ignite another car (even if it is the exact same model as yours) is not feasible – since every fob is programmed differently during manufacturing to ensure it can only communicate with the designated vehicle.

Specifically, the programming process links the fob’s identifier codes to Dodge’s electronic system.

Once the fob buttons are pressed, they will send specific signals that only that particular car can recognize and respond to accordingly.

If you still want to use your fob for another car, ask dealers or experts to reprogram it.

They will change the transmission patterns of the fob and receiver so that their commands will match the new vehicle.

This method still works but can be quite risky, though, so tread with caution.

What Is The Life Expectancy of A Dodge Key Fob?

2011 dodge ram key fob not working

Key fob batteries often last 3-4 years. When they are dying/require changes, the signal and range strength will significantly weaken.

So if you have to push the buttons repeatedly to unlock and lock doors, it is time to purchase a new set of key fob battery replacement.


The 2012 Dodge Ram key fob not working is easy to fix under most circumstances, probably with the only exception of TIPM/RKE and RFID components.

Leave the job to experts if you are not confident in your repair skill, and feel free to ask me for clarifications with any part of the guidelines.

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